Wreck ties up traffic; drivers taking phone shots made delays worse
August 26, 2014 · 9:26 AM
An accident on Interstate 5 between Marysville and Everett tied up traffic all the way to Arlington for more than five hours Monday. / Mark Mulligan
By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer
EVERETT— An overturned concrete truck that lost half its load made for a hellish drive to work for commuters heading south on I-5 on Monday morning between Marysville and Everett.
Traffic backed up from Everett to Arlington after the truck blew a rear tire, causing the driver to lose control and roll over on a stretch of highway in front of Dagmar’s Landing. For some it added more than an hour to their commute.
Some drivers added to the delays. Because so many were using cellphones to try to photograph and get video of the accident scene, troopers didn’t feel safe to open up one of the lanes earlier. Some drivers who could have been passing by at 45 mph were using their knees to steer, using their hands to take photos as they rolled by at around 15 mph, Leary said.
Leary estimated that one in five cars had a driver trying to take a photo, even with troopers standing there.
“It’s very distracted driving,” he said.
The truck’s driver, 39, felt the friction burn of his seat belt, but otherwise the Camano Island man was not injured.
“He was very shaken up,” Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said.
The truck lost about half of the 10 yards of wet concrete it was carrying. The accident occurred around 7 a.m. At times, the entire southbound freeway was closed.
All lanes opened up around 11:30 p.m., but it took another 90 minutes for the residual backup to thin out.
Smokey Point Concrete sent out an excavator and dump truck to help clean up the mess, Leary said. None of the concrete got into any of the lanes. Besides the concrete, there also was spilled hydraulic fluid to clean up.
For all the hassle the accident caused, it could have been worse, Leary said. Neither the truck driver nor anyone else was hurt.
“They can replace the truck,” Leary said. “We can’t replace him.”